Protests Erupt Across the United States Amid Scourge of Police Killings
Demonstrators in major cities across the United States are gathering en masse to protest another recent string of incidents involving police officers using excessive and needlessly deadly force against unarmed Black men.
National Public Radio reported on Tuesday:
In New York, a crowd of protesters marched across the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Protesters in Seattle held a candlelight vigil. Smaller demonstrations were held in Kansas City, Omaha and Los Angeles. Protests were planned for later in the week in many other cities including Dallas and Atlanta.
In Portland, Oregon, a peaceful daytime rally at the city’s Waterfront Park drew dozens of people as activists called out once more for dramatic change to American policing.
The latest tragedy occurred late Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, when a female cop shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a routine traffic stop.
Wright was pulled over and subsequently killed because he had an air freshener dangling from his rear-view mirror, which violates state law. Officers also claim that he had expired license plates and an outstanding arrest warrant for a gross misdemeanor.
None of those violations, however, are defined as capital offenses.
According to Officer Kim Potter’s body camera footage, which Police Chief Tim Gannon released ahead of schedule because “needed to know what happened,” Potter had intended to use her Taser to subdue Wright.
Instead, she accidentally grabbed her gun and fired when Wright got back into his car and drove away, eventually hitting another vehicle.
“Taser! Taser!” Potter yelled as she pulled the trigger. Immediately realizing what she had just done, Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, exclaimed, “Holy shit, I just shot him.”
By the time emergency medical services reached Wright, he was dead.
“As you can hear, the officer while struggling with Mr. Wright shouts ‘Taser, Taser’ several times. That’s part of the officer’s training, prior to drawing a Taser, which is a less-lethal device, that is done to make her partners aware that a Taser. During this, the officer drew their handgun instead of their taser,” Gannon said on Monday. “As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.”
On Monday, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot said at a press conference that Potter should be fired and promised that there will be justice.
“All of the world is watching our community. We continue to be distressed as we go through the Derek Chauvin trial,” Elliot said. “We will get to the bottom of this.”
Minnesota has emerged as the poster child for police brutality following last year’s gruesome lynching of George Floyd by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, whose trial is taking place a mere ten miles from the scene of Wright’s unnecessary death.